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IMM

10 years too late, but I want to apologize for my behavior

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I use to post on this forum under the forum handle In My Memory between 2005 and 2007. I know it's a long time ago and few people either know or care who I was, but I want to apologize for my behavior back then. In short, I was a compulsive liar and a relentless narcissist. Let me unpack this in detail:

Any single statement I made regarding my education, occupation, life, family, hobbies, or experiences was false. At the time when I posted on this forum, I was not capable of telling truths whether big or small. I was fully and completely aware that I was a compulsive liar in the clinical sense of the term.

The compulsive lying started when I was very young. Without going into details, I grew up in a household where my parents hit and screamed as a first resort at the smallest, slightest annoyance. I spent my entire childhood tiptoeing around my parents' razor thin patience and angry outbursts. When they raised their voice at me, I lied as a defense mechanism to escape punishment. In time, the lying became so habitual that I couldn't talk to them without falsifying some fact or detail, no matter how small. If they asked me if I ate cereal for breakfast, I would say I had a bagel. If they asked me why I seemed tired, I would say I wasn't. If they asked me what I did at school, I'd tell a story about having lunch and a nice conversation with friends; when in actuality, I didn't talk to anyone because I had no friends. And so on in that fashion ad infinitum.

This carried on into adulthood: anyone who engaged me would get an earful of embellishments and false memories. I occasionally lied for sport, saying outlandishly false things just to amuse myself. Predictably, I did screw up and lost friends, trust, and credibility along the way. I burned a lot of bridges.

It took me a long time to realize why I did this, but the short version was that I was deeply sad and crushed by inferiority. I did not handle these feelings in a healthy way: I lied constantly to bolster my own ego and feel important for a change. I found it incredibly, stupidly easy to slip into the compulsive lying habit behind the anonymity of the internet. For years, I role-played personas on various internet forums. I weaved long, detailed back stories into my characters. All of my characters were idealized, implausibly talented, wishful versions of myself.

The persona on this forum was a financial analyst struggling to hold her marriage together. Despite being an "idealized" version of myself, I was positively venomous at times. I deliberately tried to get under people's skin, broke people down to build up my ego, used narcissism as a weapon.

I do not want to deflect responsibility for my behavior by psychoanalyzing it away. I was aware of what I was doing and in control of my actions the entire time. I take full ownership of everything I've done and said. I cannot express how deeply, irrevocably ashamed I am for my past behavior. I sincerely, earnestly express my regret and apologies.

--

With that in mind, I also want to emphasize that I have mellowed out considerably in the past decade. I am self-aware and deeply introspective regarding my own behavior and the direction which my life unfolds. Consequently, I took deliberate steps to become a better person and manifest my idealized self; I decided that compulsive lying was incompatible with the person I wanted to be.

I never sought the help of a counselor (I don't think I could have engaged one honestly even if I wanted to), but I was strongly self-motivated to police the things I say to people. I slipped up frequently at first, but I found that the less I lied, the less I needed to do so, and eventually I was able to talk to people in a completely transparent, truthful manner. I've also put a lid on my narcissistic streak and no longer swing my ego around like a wrecking ball.

I've wanted to get this off my chest for years.


Best wishes,
IMM

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Hi. I hope what you've written you find cathartic and can now draw a line under that chapter of your life to start a new one that will leave  behind positive thoughts and memories of yourself.

Edited by StringJunky

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Nicely put SJ.

(Edit: I made a little joke, but reading the OP again, I don't think it is appropriate)

Edited by Strange

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17 minutes ago, Strange said:

Nicely put SJ.

(Edit: I made a little joke, but reading the OP again, I don't think it is appropriate)

Thanks.

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Ha. I've always wondered why some people are compulsive liars. I've never been able to understand that. I can understand why people kill or rape, but I can't understand compulsive lying. At least you put it into some perspective.

I also had a friend who was (very likely still is) a pathological liar and everything you said reminds me of him. He would change every detail and lie about such small, insignificant things, that it's fascinating to me from a psychological standpoint. I rejected him as a friend because of this. I hope you realize why this is so. I hope you realize you come off as a disgusting, fake and untrustworthy person when you are a compulsive liar. I hope you can understand why no one wants to have a friend like that.

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I remember you. I don't remember the venom or getting under people's skin, so you must have done a fairly good job of being your ideal person. 

Almost a thousand posts for that persona.

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I'd like to second what was said by StringJunky. I hope you won't let your past ruin your future. It certainly seems like you are on the right track. Good luck in your future.

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